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A judge concerned over allegations

October 25, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Oct 25: An additional judge of Islamabad High Court (IHC) whose name was not confirmed by the judicial commission of Pakistan (JCP) for regular appointment as a high court judge, sought record of the commission’s proceedings in which his name was turned down.

JCP on October 22 while rejecting the nomination of Justice Mohammad Azim Khan Afridi as additional judge of IHC had recommended the confirmation of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and gave six months extensions to the additional judge, Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi.

In a letter addressed to the secretary JCP, Dr Faqir Hussain on Thursday, Justice Afridi wrote: “I intend to go through the material considered against me in respect of my work and conduct, including character in the JCP meeting of Oct 22.”

He also requested the secretary JCP to provide him the required detail on Thursday through a special messenger.

An IHC official closed to Justice Afridi told Dawn that the judge was upset because he heard from informal channels that his name was not considered for regular appointment because of certain allegations.

The judge wanted to examine the evidence of these allegations which had not only deprived him the high court seat but also damaged his repute, he added.

According to sources privy to judicial commission proceedings, Justice Afridi was facing allegations of appointing 45 of his favourites in the lower judiciary of Islamabad, where he had served as inspection judge for over 10 months.

Sources claimed that IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman had earlier recommended his name but later his name was dropped due to unknown reasons.

The source claimed that Justice Afridi’s name was not included in the minutes of the meetings, adding that, if his name was recommended by the IHC Chief, then it would have been included in the minutes of the meeting of JCP on Oct 22.

Dr Faqir Hussain registrar Supreme Court and secretary JCP, when contacted for comments did not speak on this matter.

“The proceedings of the judicial commission have been declared in-camera therefore, I cannot comment on them,” he said.When asked whether the IHC judge would be allowed to examine the proceedings record, he replied: “The competent authority who is the Chief Justice of Pakistan would decide the request of IHC judge.”

Attorney general Irfan Qadir also refrained from commenting on the JCP proceedings.

He, however, suggested that the JCP proceedings should be declared open for media because nobody outside the meeting room could ever know what was going on inside the meeting.

“In order to ensure more transparency in the process for the appointment of superior court judges; the proceedings should be open at least for media persons.”

Syed Nayyab Hassan Gardezi, president Islamabad High Court bar when contacted said that mere allegations against the judge could not be the sole reason for his non-confirmation.

“The Supreme Court will also evaluate their judgments as well.”

He explained, the litigants challenged the orders of the high court judges in the apex court and the judges of Supreme Court then critically examine and evaluate the judges of the high courts through their orders.